Today I want to share a bedtime story about the dangers I experienced bringing my “generation z” son to work with me one weekend. And like all good stories, this one begins…
Once upon a time, there was a quality center system administrator who found a job at a major retail company which was in the process of centralizing application software testing processes and tools. This not so young and not so handsome administrator sold the manager on the idea of magical beans that would make quality center the backbone of the testing process.
The manager loved the idea of incorporating more of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) process within the tool’s template creation capability. The manager was so charmed by the idea that he hired the not so daring and not so dashing administrator (and his magical beans) but he also committed the rest of his team to begin building one of the finest centers of excellence for the SDLC process in all the kingdom.
To get the beans (and the job) the “not so intelligent, not so rich system administrator” made a deal with “time”. Now, time was an unforgiving creature which would punish the administrator by taking away his weekends with his family. Time put a rule in place that forbid the administrator from making major changes to the system during work hours.
This upset the administrator, but he knew that making a living for his family was more important than anything else at this time. This story takes place when the kingdom experienced an economic downturn and the village idiots who ran the government couldn’t decide how to fix it.
Now this particular weekend was very special for the “not so charismatic system administrator” and his smarter-than-average son because they had dreams of watching jousting tournaments on television. Unfortunately, he found out that week that an approval had gone through to change all the realms users and projects from quality center authentication to LDAP authentication.
Now the administrator realized that time never stated that he would have to work alone in the salt mines. This was not such a bright idea, but at least he would get time with his young son of eight summers.
The son had his own ideas what going to work meant; so he packed his DS, DVD player and a lunch consisting of jellybeans, popcorn, PB&J’s sandwiches, several fruit punch drinks and candy bars for desert. (You do NOT want to see me after I have this much sugar!!)
Into the mines we go—for hours and hours
That weekend we had to convert over 5000 users and over 350 projects they used from quality-center authentication to Windows authentication. Because the previous administrator allowed users to use non-standard naming conventions in lieu of their user IDs, all the user IDs would have to be converted and tested on every project before the LDAP connection could be made. Now we all know without a magical wand (automated conversion tool) this task would take more than the hours in a weekend.
In the defense of the “not so clairvoyant system administrator”, he had created a magical spell (SQL statements) that would allow him to convert both groups of users by project beforehand. Unfortunately, several of these projects used customize fields that would later cause the magical SQL statement to fall apart.
Now the administrator realized he made a grave error in estimating the time it would take to complete all the tasks. On average it took five minutes to convert a single user in a single project to its Windows authentication using an automated tool.
At the same time, the young boy realized that not only did his father know most of the prohibited words of the kingdom, but that “work” was also a four-letter word. Now the son was a very optimistic person who believed that helping others would make him a better person. So he asked if he could help.
Working around child labor laws
(Now to avoid criminal plot prosecution for breaking child labor laws, I would like to reiterate that he volunteered, and that I never paid him. As for indentured slavery, I have no moral high ground.)
Typically to be qualified for the administration position, a person would need several years in college, followed by over 20 years of experience in the IT industry—(or at least that’s what I thought). The administrator was desperate and he started teaching the son how to convert users within the project. The administrator had no illusions that this would have a happy ending, but at this point damage control appeared to be the lesser of two evils.
So the “not-so-hopeful system administrator” and his energetic son started the long journey together. The journey continued for two days and included the consumption of several Red Bulls and lots of jelly beans.
The miracle in the mines
On Monday morning, the “not-so-energetic system administrator” had to validate the user ID’s he and the son had converted and found only two mistakes.
The moral of the story is: if you take your son or daughter to work with you and they help, don’t let your boss know because they may do it better than you.
Thanks Dylan for all your help.
Your Very Proud Farther
Have you ever taught you children how to do your job? How did it go? Did you lose your job or did you permanently outsource your work? Let me know about your experience in the comment section below.